One rule I´ve adopted is that because I am a one man operation, I have a limited amount of time available. That being the case, booking me becomes a "first man ready to do business" scenario. In other words whoever is ready to go with a check and a contract is who I do business with. No more waiting around 3 months for a prospect decide they want to use me. Unfortunately, once I´m booked up, I might be tied up for months which can sometimes be a problem with the prospect who might still be trying to make up their mind. But that´s business.
Don´t take rejection personally. Ok I admit it. I still have trouble with this one.
If someone doesn´t want to do business with me then it´s probably for the best. I find that prospects that don´t do business with me now will either do business with me later or refer someone to me.
Trust your gut. If a prospect is procrastinating or reluctant to sign an agreement or if you get any sign that the deal is going south. Run, don´t walk for the door. Your instincts are telling you that it might turn out to be a bad deal down the road. Listen to your instincts and understand what they´re telling you. You might not see it up front but you probably will as time goes by. There have been many deals that I´ve signed that I should have followed my gut and walked away. Now I listen and trust my instincts, more than ever.
Be more discerning with whom you do business with. I´ve done business with a number of small business owners. In fact it´s the primary market for my business. And because of this, a prospect´s cash flow is of big concern to me. While I try to work with everyone who calls me to insure that we aren´t breaking the budget by hiring me, there have been times when their retainer check will bounce which creates another set of issues. The point is that you need to really choose who you do business with carefully and try to work with people you like, are okay with paying a retainer when applicable and don´t make statements like"we always pay our bills"(that´s always a warning sign for me that it might be more difficult to get them to cut a check).
One of my best tips is to have what I and screen legend Lauren Bacall refer to as F/U money (you know what that stands for I´m sure). F/U money, as she explains it is what Bogie taught her to have regardless of the industry. It allows you the freedom and control to not accept a job simply because you need the money but for the sheer love of the work as well as building your business. In other words stop chasing the buck. Now I´m not saying that I don´t have to work for a living, but if you don´t become a slave to a paycheck but can continue to grow your business, you begin to understand that you have more options available to you. It´s one reason I tell clients that the time to look for business is when you don´t need it, not when you do. While we as small business owners often feel the need to compromise this point, it is something to consider for the subsequent future.
The bottom line is that it´s okay to build your business. Just remember not to beg for it.
So to answer my clients question "how do we close a hesitant prospect after we´ve given the quote"? The answer is to make the deal, close the deal or walk away.